You do what self-taught chef and restaurateur, Zod Arifai did. With plans to open his newest restaurant, Wicked Jane, on April 7th, he was put in a tough position. He clearly could not open the restaurant in the way that he had originally planned and had to be creative when it came to his opening strategy. Lucky for New Yorkers, Chef Zod decided to open Wicked Jane despite the difficult road ahead. Wicked Jane is located in Greenwich Village, an area usually bustling with foot-traffic. In “normal” times, it’s the perfect place for a new restaurant to open, some might argue, but because of the pandemic, the streets are pretty quiet, at least by New York standards. Despite these setbacks, Chef Zod was able to open a beautiful restaurant with delicious food. Those brave enough to venture out to the village, will be captivated by the new addition to the neighborhood. Whether it’s the deep purple and blue velvety chairs, the checkered tile floor or the sheer aromas from the kitchen, your curiosity will strike, as you make your way into the outdoor patio for some cocktails and delicious food. Wicked Jane serves a menu of Modern American small plates. From the fresh heirloom tomato salad with peaches to lightly cooked salmon with ginger, grapes and daikon, the aromas and flavors are unmatched. The tables are wood with fresh carnations on each, bringing the ambiance of fine dining outdoors. Here's what we got!
Wicked Jane cocktail: vodka, hibiscus, fresh squeezed lemon and lime
Lightly cooked salmon: ginger, lime, grapes, dakion
Cod: cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower, bouillabaisse sauce
Duck tacos in flour tortillas with corn and slaw
Homemade sourdough bread with aged parmesan and olives
Frozen Chocolate mousse - (tasted like the most amazing frozen brownie batter)
The food, just like the restaurant itself, is a work of art. Each dish is crafted to be almost too beautiful to eat. Key word: almost.
The flavors are artful as well. Each menu item tastes vibrant and freshly made. The salt and fat in the lightly cooked salmon paired perfectly with the sweet and tangy grapes that accompany it. The roasted beet and sweet potato salad is covered with the perfect amount of salty tang from the orange emulsion and crushed pistachios that lie on top of it. The pineapple panna cotta is the ideal refreshing summer dessert and Wicked Jane takes it up a notch with the cilantro sauce that surrounds it. Chef Zod is able to do something spectacular: make simplicity taste complex. His deep understanding of food and flavors come through in every dish as he uses just a few ingredients to create an ingenious combination.
Beyond the food, Chef Zod and his team have curated cocktails that enhance the overall experience. Both the Wicked Jane and the Darke cocktails have the optimal balance of being fruity and refreshing without being too sweet.
With the odds against him, Chef Zod has outdone himself in creating a unique space for food lovers to enjoy high quality food during the pandemic. While it may not be what he originally imagined, Wicked Jane is certainly a spot that you must try soon.
15 W 8th Street
New York, NY 10011